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Parents can help combat 'summer learning loss'


August 3, 2005

Superintendent, School District 55

Nearly all children display some level of what educators call "summer learning loss."

In some studies it was found that students lost between 50 and 60 percent of what they had learned during the previous year. It is generally agreed that students loose between one and two months worth of achievement over the summer. This makes it necessary for teachers to re-teach previously learned materials before they can move on to the current grade levelís lessons.

The power to prevent or at least slow down this loss over the summer generally rests with the family. There are countless ways for parents to encourage continued learning and skills practice through everyday activities. In today's age of easy access to technology, there are also some easy ways parents and students can use computers and the internet to jazz up summer learning.

To best maintain reading skills, parents should read with and to their children daily. By doing so, parents can instill a love for books that will last a life time. Another great resource for supporting reading is the local library. Students should visit their local library weekly. Often times the library is also a great source for special reading programs like visiting authors and thematic reading. You may want to contact our local library to discover what summer programs are offered. Call 367-5007 to find out more.

The Internet is also a great source for finding excellent reading materials. Two excellent Web sites for reading activities include: Candlewick Press at, an excellent source for activities that deal with popular books, and Random House Publishing,, a great es, activities and information about student writing contests.

There are a number of ways to integrate math and science learning into the summer schedule. Parents should cook and bake with their children. This supports the learning of fractions and measuring. Parents can also take their children on nature walks, inviting their young learner to research one plant or animal they found and discuss their discovery over dinner.

Parents can ask their children to make a chart to track summer weather, using online resources like While looking up current conditions, children can also learn about climate, rainfall, visibility and weather trends; they could determine the average temperature for each week or month and think about how and why weather changes.

A math site worth visiting is This site covers all areas of math and is divided into grade levels. For math and science activities, visit the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse at This site provides information for K-12 teachers as well as for parents.

If parents and children do not have access to the Internet, I recommend visiting our local library. This is a facility full of reach resources and many computers that are internet accessible. Remember, "summer learning loss" is preventable and it can be a great deal of fun.


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